If you’re thinking about silver linings, here’s one to ponder: waiting in lines has, with certain exceptions, disappeared during the pandemic. Yes, some people waiting in line to be tested, others to be inoculated. Early on lines were long to buy toilet paper. By and large, however, waiting in lines has ceased for many of us. For me that’s a silver lining. Even from my youngest days I’ve found waiting in line problematic. Not that I think I’m more important than other people—not at all—my mind keeps itself pretty active and standing in line has been one of the more difficult times to keep it engaged. I generally keep a book with me. The lack of mass-market paperbacks in the categories I tend to read, however, makes having a book in your jacket pocket difficult.
People standing in line are often surly. It’s not always a great place to strike up a conversation, to improve your mind. It is the epitome of wasted time. Not just for me, but for everyone involved. Learning to live mostly at home has greatly reduced that wasted time. Interestingly, many people have reported being bored with their extra time. Others of us find this small windfall just enough to keep in place as we continue sprinting along. Regardless, the line waiting absence has been one silver lining. When I was a student I used to call waiting in line a theological problem. What I believe I meant was that time should not be wasted and your options were severely limited by standing in a queue.
For many people, I suspect, the smartphone has addressed the issue even before the pandemic came. My smartphone has never been that much of a comfort to me, when it comes to time. Although I’m on social media I don’t spend a whole lot of time on it. It can easily become yet another way of spending time I don’t have to squander. Reading ebooks on a small screen doesn’t really lead to any sense of accomplishment for me. Perhaps I think about it too much, but it seems that real goals are met in the real world. Ah, but this is meant to be a silver lining post, the lack of lines. As the pandemic slowly dies down, queues will return. Books won’t have grown any smaller in the meantime. Perhaps I could use the time wisely by learning to explore the wonders of the universe in my pocket. Just after, however, I finish this book in my hands.